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Description - Spaces of Puppets in Popular Culture: Grotesque Geographies of the Borderscape by Janet Banfield

This first book-length exploration of geographical engagement with puppets examines constructions of puppets in contemporary popular British culture and considers the various ways in which puppets and humans (not just puppeteers) are unified in diverse cultural media.

Organised around themes of metaphorical, performative and transformational puppets, the work draws out how puppets are used in diverse cultural media (fiction, music, television, film and theatre), how they are constructed through those uses, and to what effect. Both puppets as generalised forms (bodily, relational or ideational) and specific puppet characters (Mr Punch, Pinocchio) are explored. Building upon existing associations between puppets and the grotesque, the volume extends understandings of the puppet by elaborating borderscaping strategies through which puppets are constructed and an alternative perspective on the uncanniness of puppets. Geographically, it unearths distinct puppet spatialities, identifies the socially critical potential of puppets, rescales geo/bio-politics at the interpersonal level, and highlights the potential of puppets within posthuman debates about the status of the human.

This work will be of interest to anyone fascinated by puppets, as well as those in fields such as geography, anthropology, cultural and media studies, and those interested in the grotesque, posthumanism and/or non-representational scholarship.

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